At about 10.30 on Friday evening I returned a missed call from one of the cultureless, classless and nondescript collection of heathens I’m known to consort with from time to time. They call themselves the MOT — or Men Of Thirst. Let’s call this particular savage Xolani, for that is, after all, what his folks christened him.

Xolani is not in the habit of calling me so late, so I immediately returned his call in a mild panic. Had he been in an accident, his wide girth sprawled out in a ditch in the middle of nowhere? Had the swine flu got him? He likes pork sausages, you see.

As it turns out, the inebriated bugger had called me in order for me to settle a debate he was having with another MOT who may or may not be a regular poster on TL — Captain Obvious or some other unoriginal nom de plume — Apparently, these two high-calibre individuals were in the middle of a so-called debate about the exact identity of the entity that Jacob from the First Testament in the Judeo-Christian Bible had wrestled in the famous story. Did Jacob wrestle an angel or did he wrestle God himself in all his white bearded splendour and glory? Just the sort of thing normal people argue about on a Friday evening. I’ve also been down this path of intoxicated retardation with the Ntshingila fellow. He’s been known to publicly challenge God to a wrestling match when he’s consumed a certain volume of the waters of immortality. He often punctuates his drunken call for a duel with the almighty with the line, “If there is a God out there, he will strike me to death by the time morning comes”.

My point is not to brag about the calibre of friends I surround myself with. What I found fascinating is that a pair of highly intelligent individuals with conservatively (I’m confident) 250 IQ points between them would spend hours at a pub putting each others’ eardrums to the test, spitting into each others’ faces and nearly gouging each others’ eyeballs out arguing a factual point. With the internet inside their pockets.

You see, when I heard that they had developed this whole GPRS/3G nonsense, I cursed out loud. This is because I live for drunken debate. Without debate (read: senseless bickering) between friends, there’s no point to the whole exercise. You might as well have a tea party and complain about your respective spouses and sigh with resignation about how a man’s work is never done.

For me a debate between mates in a pub serves no other purpose except to spark more debate; with the debate being an end unto itself. And over the years I have honed my debating strategy to a finely tuned, sophisticated science. And my tactics lean heavily on two central pillars;

1. Questioning the general sexual morality of my opponents’ mother.
2. Making kak up on the spot.

That’s correct, my excellent record in winning debates relies heavily on hurling insults and lying through my teeth. I know no other way. I’ve said this before, but I just don’t see the point of playing the ball when the man is right there in front of you. And so, when they brought the internet to Jack Rabbits, I groaned loudly. The way I envisaged life from that point onwards was;

Me: And when Jacob Zuma arrived at Robben Island, Mandela told him …
Arb MOT: Dude, Zuma got to Robben Island before Mandela.
Me: Nonsense man. Are you sure your mom is not your dad’s first cousin?
AM (Punching at his Blackberry triumphantly): Just as I thought. JZ got there before Mandela.

Let’s agree that this type of debate would be primitiveness personified. I mean, can you imagine life in a pub where one can’t make a compelling argument that Teko Modise’s glorious career achievements outshine anything Christiano Ronaldo has ever accomplished?

I need not have worried. I completely underestimated human resourcefulness and our ability to work around obstacles. I imagine that whoever introduced condoms as a way of curbing sexually transmittable infections probably sat back contentedly and predicted the spectacular demise of gonorrhea. If they were woken up from their grave to take a sneak peek at us now as we grapple with HIV, they’d shake their head in disbelief. We find ways around that one as well — anything from ‘Would you take a shower wearing a raincoat?’ to munching on beetroot.

It’s the human way. If you think that the point of this piece is to ridicule my buddies, you would be correct. But as I wrote it, I started thinking more about this phenomenon. Human beings are, by design, an irrational species. Our humanity is not better illustrated than when we are at our most illogical. As a matter of fact; we always seem to ascend to the peak of our humanity when we fall in love, for instance. When we climb Mount Kilimanjaro for no rational reason. When we go to church/synagogue/mosque to talk to some guy who may or may not be a figment of our overactive imaginations. When we consume toxic substances for the sole purpose of dulling our senses for a few hours to escape reality.

Forsaking the Blackberry’s in our pockets and arguing about whether the Bible says Jacob wrestled an angel or God himself is what being human is all about.

But then again, maybe the drunks were just being typical drunks.

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  • Once upon a time, Ndumiso Ngcobo used to be an intelligent, relevant man with a respectable (read: boring-as-crap) job which funded his extensive beer habit. One day he woke up and discovered that he had lost his mind, quit his well-paying job, penned a collection of hallucinations. A bunch of racist white guys published the collection just to make him look more ridiculous and called it 'Some of my best friends are white'. (Two Dogs, ISBN 978-1-92013-718-2). Nowadays he spends his days wandering the earth like Kwai Chang Caine, munching locusts, mumbling to himself like John the Baptist and searching for the meaning of life at the bottom of beer mugs. The racist publishers have reared their ugly heads again and dangled money in his face to pen yet another collection of hallucinations entitled 'Is It Coz 'm Black'. He will take cash, major credit cards and will perform a strip tease for contributions to his beer fund.


Ndumiso Ngcobo

Once upon a time, Ndumiso Ngcobo used to be an intelligent, relevant man with a respectable (read: boring-as-crap) job which funded his extensive beer habit. One day he woke up and discovered that he...

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